Continuing a decades-long tradition, Nature’s Bin in Lakewood is proud to continue to support our area’s family farmers and provide its shoppers with the best local produce available.
This year the local produce program at Nature’s Bin has expanded to include two Ohio farmers’ co-ops. Green Field Farms based out of Holmes County consists of all organic and Amish farmers. Amish farms use sustainable farming methods to grow their crops including horse-drawn plows and hand harvesting. These methods give off no fuel emissions decreasing the impact on the environment. Green Field Farms offers a variety of produce along with several other products sold throughout the store including organic eggs and cheese. At Nature’s Bin you can find certified organic, locally grown tomatoes, yellow squash, cabbage, cucumbers, zucchini and much more from Green Field Farms.
Also new at Nature’s Bin this year is produce arriving regularly from the Mt. Hope Produce Auction in Holmes County. Started in 1995, the auction is a significant outlet for Ohio farmers to sell their produce. It serves the local community by connecting family farmers with wholesale produce buyers, and in doing so provides an opportunity for farmers to receive a fair price for their goods. The Mt. Hope Auction features a large outdoor pavilion that shelters pallets of fresh produce harvested just hours before the sale. A traditional auction takes place five times a week as produce is sold to the highest bidder and hauled away to local retail stores.
Delicious familiar favorites are also back on the shelves this season at Nature’s Bin. Spiegelberg Orchards in Lorain is a 100 acre fruit farm in operation since 1920. Ken and Ruth Spiegelberg are in full swing this time of year harvesting cherries and the first crops of summer baking apples. The ever-popular Spiegelberg peaches are ripe and ready and as always there will be a tasty variety of local apples and cider in the fall.
Organic blueberries from Hunter Farms in Fairview, PA have also arrived at Nature’s Bin. “I wait all year for these blueberries, they are the best!” commented Natalie Coppola, seasonal manager at Nature’s Bin. Richard Hunter has been a certified organic farmer for thirteen years. His farm of 100 acres has eight acres dedicated to blueberry production.
Almost in our own backyard is the 3.5 acre greenhouse which is the home of R.O. Apelt and Sons. Located in Cleveland, R.O. Apelt and Sons has been growing quality cucumbers since 1983 and they are the sole provider of English cucumbers to Nature’s Bin. Greenhouse owner and manager, Frank Beckloff uses the newest technologies in computer control for heating, ventilation and irrigation while still hand-harvesting cucumbers daily.
The local produce program at Nature’s Bin goes far beyond providing fresh local food to customers. In an ongoing effort, the store continues to take strides in reducing its environmental impact. With the help of local distribution companies all local products are picked up at central locations and delivered to the store. Many times one truck will haul produce, grains, maple syrup and other items from one particular county. Fuel emissions are significantly decreased when buying local products that are traveling fewer miles to reach store shelves.
Of course, for many people, the best benefit of buying local is that the food tastes better because it is fresh! Every tomato, peach and berry is ripe when harvested which also increases their nutritional value. At Nature’s Bin, most local produce is picked within 24 hours of delivery and displayed on the shelf the same day. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!
Buying local foods is something we all can do to help support our local economy and reduce our environmental impact. Join us at Nature’s Bin in our effort to support local family farmers. You won’t be disappointed!